Slave Trail to the Pirate Trails is a beginner-friendly “lollipop” course along the banks of the James River. This 4.5-mile singletrack is generally flat and less technical compared to other trails in the system. Being a simple and flowing short track, it only takes about 15 minutes to complete, which makes it perfect for novice MTB riders or anyone who wants to have a short warm-up or cool-down. You can even connect it with other trails like North Bank, Buttermilk, and Forest Hill to create a longer route.
To access the lollipop trail, you must begin from the Mayo Bridge on 14th Street. From there, look for a paved path on the upstream side of the bridge’s southern end. Follow this until you reach a path that intersects the flood wall. Then, proceed under the I-95 bridge on the left, where you can find the starting point of the lollipop course. Follow this trail until you reach the entrance of Ancarrow’s Landing. From there, cross the road, then follow the singletrack to the trailhead, where the trail splits.
Most riders add this trail to the main loop of North Bank, Buttermilk, and Forest Hill to create a longer route. Since it is a simple and flowing short track, you can also use it as a cool-down route after going through other technical trails in the system.
Since the trail is densely covered by trees, it takes a while to dry up after the rain. You can ride it on the following days but expect the path to be wet and muddy. On the bright side, it is nice to take this trail when the weather is sunny since it is shaded by trees.
Like other trails in the James River Park System, the landscape consists mainly of trees and a nice view of the James River.
One thing we’d like you to keep in mind is that the trail is heavily covered by trees, so it takes a while to dry up after considerable rain. We suggest that you hit the road once it completely dries up in order to avoid wet and muddy trails.